According to LinkedIn's quarterly SEC filings, the professional networking site (now owned by Microsoft) makes money through its talent solutions, marketing solutions and premium subscriptions – in other words, by selling advertising, recruitment services and membership privileges.
In 2016, 65% of third-quarter revenue, totaling $960 million, came from recruitment services ("talent solutions") sold to both professional recruiters and employers. Marketing accounted for 18% of total revenue, or $109 million, from a combination of advertising sold to online marketers and the sale of "sponsored updates" posted to a target audience of members in the LinkedIn feed.
The remaining 17% of revenue, or $162 million, was generated through premium subscriptions. Premium subscriptions allow members to increase their search results significantly, send messages on LinkedIn's email system rather than just receive them, contact members outside of their networks and see information about people who have viewed their profiles. Since basic membership is free, LinkedIn makes a good portion of its revenue from a minority of its users: Only 21% of total users had premium subscriptions as of March 2016.
As of the third quarter of 2016, U.S. revenue accounted for 61% of LinkedIn's total revenue, while revenue from international markets made up the remaining 39%. LinkedIn is available in 23 languages and has over 332 million users in over 200 countries, as of 2016, with 75% of new memberships being generated outside the U.S.